Here’s to some serenity with our teacher stress…
I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired, in fact I was feeling pretty in the dumps. I feel like I’m on overdrive, while not really going anywhere. I am trying to do a lot of things, but also slow down and sometimes it’s difficult to strike a balance. The one day I felt good was the day I got a shower and got dressed in the morning. So that’s a bonus. But it struck me when I sat down to write that I felt like I wanted to crawl into a hole and not reach out to anyone until I felt like I had it a little more together.
And then a little bit of inspiration hit when I listened to an episode of Dr. Rangan Chaterjee’s Live MOre, Feel Better Podcast about a man named John McAvoy who was locked in solitary confinement. He discussed how he managed that kind of a situation and came out stronger on the end of it. In fact, he’s now a Nike sponsored athlete!
His advice was simple.
What most of us can control during this time are what we do to enhance or detract from our bodies and our minds, both in what we consume mentally and physically and how we move our bodies (or don’t).
Here is the complete podcast here:
So that got me thinking about “The Serenity Prayer” and I thought I would do a little exercise to try to get some perspective on the situation.
In case you forgot, here’s “The Serenity Prayer”….
Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
So being the English teacher that I am, I decided to do a timed writing-I set a timer for 5 minutes-for each of the Serenity Prayer’s parts, hoping to empower myself about the current social distancing/lock down/Covid-19 pandemic situation.
If you are feeling some kind of way at this moment in time, I invite you to also do this kind of an exercise.
I thought I would share my writing and hope that you may find this kind of an exercise useful as you navigate the fine line of knowing what is ours to change and what is beyond our scope at this moment.
Going through this exercise, I realized that I do have more choice then I previously realized and the things that I cannot change aren’t always going to be out of my control, some of them are initiatives that I would like to get involved with, while others are just minor inconveniences that right now feel truly annoying.
Regardless, I can bring a little awareness and grace to the current situation and try to keep some perspective during this difficult time for ALL of us.
Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
I can not leave the house to go to work
Not safely getting coffee anywhere other than my kitchen
The politics of this moment
Other people not heeding to social distancing guidelines
Students not having the ability or means to log into my online course materials
The ever-increasing divide between the haves and have-nots at this moment in time
How this disease spreads/doesn’t spread to others
Where I live and its proximity to a hospital (a blessing, curse or both?)
The uncertainty of this moment
The fear and sadness of my son not knowing a world without masks
The strangeness of this whole situation…are we protecting ourselves or are we sitting ducks in our homes?
Not knowing how to help everyone because everyone is different
That video conferencing is the new normal
courage to change the things I can;
The amount of time I spend on my phone
The quality of the time I spend with my son
The quality of the time I spend with my husband
The frequency I connect with loved ones
How I structure my day
What I listen to for entertainment
The books I read
How often I “get ready” for the day
How/when I move my body
How long my work “sprints” are
What causes I donate time/money to during this crisis
How I interact with neighbors
How I can reach out to family and friends even if I don’t know exactly what they need
and wisdom to know the difference.
The knowing the difference part is where I need to be really honest. I heard someone say recently that we have to reframe our thinking about staying at home. It often feels like we’re doing nothing, but in fact this act of us staying home is the ultimate altruistic, compassionate act.
By our staying home, we are coming together. It may FEEL like we are doing nothing, but it is the biggest SOMETHING that we can do collectively.
Our CHOICE to stay socially distanced and is something that we DO have control over, and it may feel disempowering at times, but it truly is utilizing the power we have to change the things that we can.
THAT IS THE WISDOM WE CAN ALL TAKE AWAY FROM THIS!
It’s clear that I have choice in many parts of my life. It was good to be reminded of that through this little exercise. For today, I’m going to choose to live in the space of choosing to focus on those things I have the courage to change. With that, I’m going to take a break and get outside! I hope you will all give yourselves the serenity for that if you need it!
Please stay in touch, share your Serenity Prayer reflections, and just continue doing your best. That’s all we can do during this time. And for me, some weeks are better than others. I’m glad I have all of you to lean on!
For more consistent support do help each other now and for whatever the future brings, check out the We are Teaching Well group.
If you’d like to get weekly teacher wellness sent directly to your inbox, please subscribe to Teaching Well’s Weekly Well Wish.